Circuit Judge James Townsend
Jim Townsend was born in 1925 to Glen and Esther (Angstrom) Townsend in Boyne City. He grew up in Petoskey, graduating in 1943 from Petoskey High School.
During World War II he served with the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of the 329th Infantry Regiment of the 83rd "Thunderbolt" Division. He scouted across France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany to across the Elbe River, earning five campaign stars, a bronze star, and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was in the first boat to cross the Rhine River at Neuss on a reconnaissance mission for the Allied troops. His platoon was featured in the Saturday Evening Post and after the war was honored by being invited to be on the then popular television show, "This is Your Life."
After the war Jim attended the University of Michigan. He married Corinne Calkins in 1947. After completing his law degree in 1951, Jim joined the firm of TenCate and TenCate in Holland, which in time became TenCate, Townsend, and Cunningham.
Jim and Corinne raised four children and were active members of First United Methodist Church where Jim taught Sunday school, served on the board of trustees, and always sang in the church choir.
In 1972 Jim was elected Circuit Judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit in Grand Haven. During his time as judge, Jim was president of the Michigan Judges Association. Jim retired in 1991.
Community service was Jim's middle name. His years with the Boy Scouts included time as president of the Grand Valley (Gerald Ford) Council of Boy Scouts, and he received both the Silver Beaver and Distinguished Eagle awards. He served as president of the then Greater Holland Community Foundation. He helped found Ottagan Addictions Recovery. He was president of the Hope Association of Senior Professionals during a time of rapid growth. He was on the board and foundation board of Clark Retirement Community.
In recent years, Jim and Corinne lived at Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids. They belonged to Trinity United Methodist Church, attending worship in the morning and Jim sang in the Clark Chapel Choir in the afternoons. He continued to be known for his unfailing courtesy, even-tempered cheerfulness, and super smile.
Jim had a gift for unconditional love, which over the years he expressed more openly and extended to all with whom he came in contact.
Jim was, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, useful, honorable and compassionate. It made considerable difference that he lived and lived well.
Jim is survived by his wife of 67 years, Corinne; by children, Susan (Jon) Stahl, Steve (Peggy) Townsend, Margaret (Jeff) Fountain and Mary Koenen; by grandchildren, Becca (Erich) Harvey, Beth (Frank) Davila, Sarah (Tim) Kemp, Bryce (Claire) Hesterman, Emily (Jeff) Wilcox and Gabriella Fountain; and great-grandchildren, James and Seth Harvey, Julius and Kai Davila, Clementine Kemp, and two more on the way. The funeral service will be Saturday Sept. 13, at 10 a.m., in the chapel at Clark Retirement Community, 1551 Franklin St. S.E., Grand Rapids. Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., in the BK room at Clark Retirement Community. Private interment will take place at Greenwood Cemetery, Petoskey.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Clark Retirement Community Foundation, Boy Scouts of America or Trinity Methodist Church.
The family is being provided services by Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Service, 4291 Cascade Road SE, www.metcalfandjonkhoff.com.